Two Rivers Museum
The Two Rivers Museum, located on the corner of Constitution Avenue (Highway 71) and Main Street in Ashdown (Little River County), opened in 2005. The museum, which was created by the nonprofit Little River County Historical Society has a mission of preserving the history of the local community. The museum gets its name from the two major rivers that flow through Little River County: the Red River and Little River.
The Two Rivers Museum is located in the Bishop building in the Ashdown Commercial Historic District. The building is a renovated hundred-year-old storefront that was once a pharmacy and, more recently, an antique store. The Bishop building, built in 1908, is a two-story brick structure with a flat roof and a parapet. The structure was part of the American movement commercial style. A cornerstone is on the east façade. While the building has had multiple owners, it has maintained its original brickwork and frame. On May 20, 2008, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places as a part of the Ashdown Commercial Historic District.
The building has a mural depicting a train, the courthouse, cotton fields, lumber, and a few other historically significant aspects of life in Little River County. Ashdown owes its existence to the railroad; today, the track still cuts through the heart of the town. The timber and agricultural industries made possible by the railroad are still important parts of the economy, and many different industries have since flourished in the area because of the railroad.
The museum has an extensive collection of artifacts, most of which are associated with the history and people of Ashdown, and more broadly with Little River County. Exhibits about individuals involved in the military, Kaufman Seeds, and other primary industries in the area tell the story of the development of Ashdown. The various exhibits display the history of early residents of Ashdown, including the stories of farmers, lawyers, doctors, and railroad workers. Significant portions of the museum are dedicated to war. The military display is titled “Freedom’s Heroes.” Military artifacts emphasize World War I and World War II; uniforms, medals, and guns from citizens of the area are on display. Another exhibit honors the late Henry Kaufman, an immigrant of German–Jewish descent who founded Kaufman Seeds in Ashdown. Some of the large pieces available for viewing include a large black hearse, a wooden embalming table, and an old wooden post office.
The museum owes its operation to private donations and volunteers. When volunteers are available, the Two Rivers Museum is open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
For additional information:
“Ashdown Commercial Historic District.” National Register of Historic Places registration form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/LR0133.nr.pdf (accessed June 16, 2017).
“Two Rivers Museum.” Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. https://www.arkansas.com/attractions/detail/two-rivers-museum/92822 (accessed June 16, 2017).
Williamson, Jim. “Little Ashdown Museum Big on Preserving History.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, August 3, 2008, p. 3B.
Henderson State University
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